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tv   U.S. House Meets for Legislative Business  CSPAN  March 16, 2017 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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other side of the aisle didn't have the courage or wisdom to ask this question off the -- >> you can continue to watch the hearing on c-span2 and prime time tonight on the c-span networks. live now to the u.s. house. members about to gavel n the speaker: the house will be n order. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer will be offered by the guest chaplain today, dr. reverend andrew chain fromy from springfield, missouri. the chaplain: let us pray. god, you are never far, but the busyness of each day makes you feel distant. inner barricades block your guidance.
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fears haunt us. worries entangle our minds. pressures cast shadows important our harts -- hearts. keep these anxieties of life from overwhelming us. give us victory over pride so that our common humanity may provoke new inroads of compassion, to sympathize more deeply with those in need. give us victory over stubbornness, replace the grudges that hinder our collaboration with forgiveness that opens minds to new possibilities. give us victory from the stain of lustful sins. keep us on the straight and narrow path. cleanse and purify our hearts by the inspiration of your holy spirit. o god, give these members of congress a courageous perseverance, an unshakable integrity, a spirit that cannot be broken. secure the faith of this house,
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thereby securing the hetage and the future of america. amen. the speaker pro tempore: amen. the the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1 the journal stands approved. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. wilson: south carolina. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina -- oorsoors mr. wilson: i demand a vote on agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the gentleman from south carolina. mr. wilson: mr. speaker, i demand the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will please rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are
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ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this uestion are postponed. the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from --. ornia, >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from missouri, mr. long, is recognized for one minute. mr. long: mr. speaker, today i have the honor of introducing my friend, reverend dr. andrew chaney, he's a third generation minister. he serves as the senior minister at the historic first cavalry presbyterian church in springfield, missouri, a church a special place to my family. he serves as an important
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spiritual voice for me in the springfield community. congress is a long-standing tradition of beginning each session with a prayer. i'm privileged and honored to have the opportunity today to welcome reverend dr. andrew chaney to the people's house as the opening day session with the prayer. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will entertain up to 15 further requests for one-minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from new york seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. stefanik: mr. speaker, my district is the proud home to the adirondack park, abenvironmental treasure. we understand in the north country protecting our environment plays an important role in promoting economic growth and opportunity. along with 16 of my colleagues, i am proudo in toduce a resolution calling on the house of representatives to commit to
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working on economically viable solutions that address the threat of climate change. clean energy innovation is critical and this resolution brings together the priority of addressing the risks of climate change with the importance of protecting and creating american jobs. this resolution calls on american ingenuity, innovation, and exceptionalism, also citing that as a conservative principle to protect, conserve, and be good stew waffereds our environment. no matter what side of the aisle you are on, we all have a significant responsibility to protect our environment from avoidable damage. i ask my colleagues to join in this commitment and support this important resolution. yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. rep. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from illinois is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, today i introduce add resolution of inquiry. requesting that the president and attorney general provide the house with any evidence in
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their possession relating to president trump's claims that president obama illegally ordered the wiretapping of trump tower. mr. quigley: a task not welcomed but necessitated by the president's seemingly baseless accusations that the obama administration wiretapped trump tower during the presidential campaign. these accusations should be taken literally and seriously. as a member of the intelligence committee, i see absolutely no evidence that supports the president's claim. president trump and the department of justice have a responsibility to completely clarify the president's statement on twitter. that the white house and department of justice are unable to produce this evidence, as i suspect will be the case, the president owes the american people a thorough and immediate explanation and apology. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> request unanimous consent to
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address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from georgia is recognized for one mefpblet >> thank you, mr. speaker. today i rise in support of the v.a. accountability first act. this legislation provides the v.a. secretary with the increased ability to remove, demote, or suspend any v.a. employee for poor performance or misconduct. why it takes legislation to enforce common sense is beyond me. just like in the business world, the v.a. and its employees must be held accountable for their actns. three weeks ago i hosted a veterans' town hall in georgia. mr. allen: many of the complaints and concerns shared with me were about wait times. one thing no one has enough of is time, especially our veterans. for far too long veterans have waited for care at their own expense. this is unacceptable. it is our responsibility to not only take care of but provide the best possible care to our
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service men and women. getting rid of bad and incompetent actors is a great place to start. i encourage my colleagues to support this legislation. it is truly the least we can do for those who have done so much for us. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. ruiz: the american health care act known as trump care will cost 24 million more people go without health insurance. as an emergency physician, i know everyone even healthy young people are vulnerable to car accidents or diseases that require critical care. whether they have insurance or not, people get sick and get injured. i have never treated a patient who said they were uninsured because they preferred to be uninsured. they simply couldn't afford it. so what does 24 million more uninsured people mean? it means more pain, suffering,
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and shorter li spans f people who go without care. it means more e.r. visits and longer wait to see a doctor in the emergency rooms for everyone. it means financial ruin for young families or those ready to retire. it means that hospitals and providers might lay off workers or even go out of business due to rising uncompensated care. it means they will charge more to make ends meet which will raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs for everyone. everyone will have to pay more. i urge everyone to vote no. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina seek recognition? mr. wilson: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. wilson: mr. speaker, an editorial last week in the core courier of charleston sites g.o.p. health bill a start, which provided accurate insight into how the american health care act is the first step in a
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three-step approach on how to put patients back in control of health care. the editorial states, quote, any flaws notwithstanding, it is an important step forward for the g.o.p. to put a fully fleshed out health care bill on the table. but there is certainly cause for optimism that a tweaked health care bill can at least bandage and begin to care -- cure some of the festers wounds left by obamacare. republicans have a chance to make things right. they have a chance to helmo americans afford health care in a sustainable and responsible way. they have the chance to place more health care in citizens in the hands of patients and doctors and fewer in the hands of government. the bill introduced on tuesday is a first step in the right direction, end of quote. i appreciate the positive vision of speaker paul d. ryan with president trump and his am of o.m.b. director mick mulvaney and h.h.s. secretary tome price. god bless our troops. we will never forget september 11 and the global war on terrorism to defeat islamic
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extremist terrorists. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. green: mr. speaker, members, 24 million americans will lose their health insurance. they will become uninsured. we call it trump care, or should it be called, for seven years republicans have said they have a bert alternative to the affordable care act. president trump promised on the campaign trail that republicans could put forward a plan that would have insurance for everybody think would be far less expensive and far better for the american people. we now know the congressional budget office report says that 24 million people will lose their health insurance, including seven million will lose their insurance they currently have through their employers. older americans waiting to get on medicare would be charged five times what they pay now.
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it reduces the medicare trust fund as it cuts 25% in medicaid, a program that provides care for children and senior citizens. mr. speaker, this plan is both heartless and financially unsound. this repeal bill does not lower premiums or out-of-pocket costs. nor does it expand access to care and it provides a huge tax cut poorly disguised as a health care bill. we need to defeat this bill. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. poe: mr. speaker, this week marks three years since russia violated ukraine's territorial integrity and illegally stole crimea. in 2014, the people of ukraine peacefully decided to move closer to the european union andway from the russian spear of influence.
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however the napoleon of siberia would have none of it. russian troops invaded the crimea peninsula of ukraine. little green men then invaded two more regions in eastern ukraine. the russian invasions have cost 10,000 ukrainian lives. russia has not stopped. troops are pursuing a slow strategic to take more and more territory in eastern ukraine. russia has invaded a sovereign country and taken over its lands. mr. speaker, what country is next? the american people must stand with ukraine and against the tyranny of the russian bear. it is time to stand up to putin. he must pay a price for his aggression. sanctions and isolation of the bear are good places to start. that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, over the last few months we have seen a surge
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of hate driven violenc vand vandalism, and thrts against numerous communities much as a member of the oversight committee i'm calling for hearings to determine the root cause of this wave of hate crimes and how we can combat it. while our government must show its commitment to answering these attacks, the american people already have. desecrations of jewish cemeteries were met with waves of volunteers assisting in the restoration. mr. krishnamoorthi: burning were met with contributions from americans of all faith to help the rebuilding. when two inian men in kansas were shot and one murdered, a third caucasian man was wounded when he heroically sought to intervene. these actions speak to the resilience of our people, the highest principles of our nation, and why we're proud to be americans. america is, indeed, an exceptional nation. i hope chairman chaffetz will heed my call and hold hearings on this wave of hate-inspired
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attacks to help america remain exceptional. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from alabama seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. . mrs. roby: mr. speaker, i'm pleased we're bringing im frofment -- improvement to the v.a. two years ago, congress rightfully passed legislation giving the v.a. secretary greater authority to fire senior managers responsible for those failures. i was glad to support the bill and in fact the director of our own scandal-ridden central alabama v.a. became the first fired under the new law. but, mr. speaker, we all know that law did not go far enough. responsibility for failures at the v.a. doesn't just lie with senior managers. we need to provide the v.a. secretary increased authority to swiftly remove, demote or suspend any v.a. employee for poor performance or misconduct.
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that's why i urge my colleagues to support the v.a. accountability first act. the problems at the v.a. may have left the front page for now, but the problems are still very prest. thwork of improving veterans' access to care is far from over. and i will not stop until it's done. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from michigan seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. mrs. dingell: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise today because war is being declared on the great lakes. those of us who live in the great lakes region recognize that the current times are anything but usually. -- usual. great lakes account for 21% of the world's freshwater supply. and are a major thorough fair for transportation, commerce -- thoroughfare for transportation, commerce, trade, as well as recreation and tourism.
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critical investments over the last decade have helped clean up and protect these waters. and that work is now in danger. much is preventable and it must be stopped. president trump's budget release today virtually eliminates funding for the great lakes restoration initiative, which will cause significant harm to our communities, to jocks and to our way of life -- jobs and to our way of life. this jeopardizes our ability to fight back against invasive species that threaten the region's biodiversity, including the asian carp. it also impacts vital cleanup projects that ensure our water's safe to drink. and there are those that want to store nuclear waste in the lakes as well. it's not a partisan issue. it's an american issue. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek without objection, the gentleman is recognized for
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-- seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> i rise today to urge my colleagues to support recesstating our health care system. obamacare's being crushed under its own weight and the american health care act will deliver a better way for health care. one of the greatest failures of obamacare is that it forces americans into coverage that they do not want and that they cannot afford. mr. carter: our plan instead is designed to empower patients to access quality, affordable and patient-centered health care. the american health care act will put the free market back into health care, giving americans the freedom of choice. instead of washington controlling the decisions of patients, we will empower them to make that you are own choices. americans deserve -- them to make their own choices. americans deserve to have access to quality, affordable and patient-centered health care and this is how we intend to make this a reality. remember, this is a first phase of this mission. to rescue our country's health care. and i'm committed to making sure that it's not the last. phase two is under way with
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administrative actions from our friend, secretary of health and human services, dr. tom price. and leader mccarthy has begun to lay out additional legislation that we could not include in reconciliation. we will waste no time on this and begin consideration next week. the battle does not end with the american health care act. but it is a crucial first step to a better tomorrow. thank you, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from new york seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. mrs. maloney: mr. speaker, today the house budget committee passed the republican health care plan. we all know by now that the recent c.b.o. analysis has some very bad news for millions of americans. but it has some especially bad news for women. the g.o.p. plan makes planned parenthood ineligible for any reimbursement for medicaid or
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medicare for one entire year. but more than half of planned parenthood facilities are in rural or medically underserved areas. even in my district in new york, women are lined up out the building and down the block often waiting for planned parenthood services. yet the c.b.o. says that if the g.o.p. plan becomes law, more than 15% of low-income women in our country will be without any access to health care. no cancer screenings, no tests and treatments for s.t.d.'s. women's lives and well-being should have greater value than this. but they just don't seem to count in the cruel mass of this merciless law. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. for what purpose does the
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gentleman from south carolina seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, 4% of the people of south carolina have individual policies under obamacare. but i submit to you that if you have a health insurance policy that pays nothing, with deductibles so high that you can't use it, regardless of the fact that statistics may say you're covered, you're not covered. sadly, that's what many of my constituents back home in south carolina are dealing with under obamacare. i have statement after statement after statement from folks in south carolina that are being horribly damaged by this law. they're faced with rising premiums, high deductibles and limited choice. in my state, premiums went up nearly 30% last year. at one time south carolina had five different providers. now there's only one and they're
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threatening to pull out. what happens then? by now it's clear this law is not helping south carolinaans the way it was intended. but what i also want to make clear is republicans have a plan to fix it. our plan is a blanket repeal of harmful obamacare taxes, like the individual and employer mandates. it preserves patient protections so people won't be denied for pre-existing conditions. and it gives individuals and families better control of their health care by allowing them to spend their health care dollars as they see fit. simply put, our plan moves us from an unsustainable path to a sustainable one. thank you, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. this morning president trump has released the first proposal of
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his administration. budget proposal. mr. everett: reading through the budget propose -- mr. evans: reading through the budget proposal, i'm reminded of what president trump said this summer. he said, what do you have to lose? what do you have to lose? this is what we have to lose. eliminating the department of housing and urban department community development block grants, whose sole purpose is to combat poverty nation-wide. this is what we have to lose. cutting funding for head start before and after school -- head start, before and after school programs for our kids. this is what we have to lose. shipping fund -- stripping funding of medicaid and your new health care law that provides critical services for our most vulnerable. this is what we have to lose. all of those cuts do not give our seniors, our children, our working families a chance to get ahead. our communities have too much to lose, mr. president. our communities need the
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opportunity to make crucial investments that make our neighborhoods stronger block by block. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. thompson: request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute -- for one minute. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, a healthy diet for many americans may have nothing to do with commitment, but rather accessibility. limited access to supermarkets and grocery stores with fresh, nutritious food can be a challenge in both rural and urban communities. these are often called food deserts. this is a particular concern for the supplemental nutrition assistance program or snap which intends to provide nutrition to millions of americans. according to usda, to qualify as a low-access community, at least 500 people and 3.3% of the population must reside more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.
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for rural areas the distance is more than 10 miles. it's difficult to eat healthy when the easiest store to get to primarily provides packaged and processed food. snap recipients may find a local market convenient, but it often offers high calorie foods with minimal knew trirble value. these foods can -- minimal nutritional value. it is my hope that as we increase access to fresh food or for communities throughout the country, our families deserve no less. and i look forward to working with the nutrition subcommittee and agriculture to continue to look at the snap program so that it serves those that it's intended to serve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from ohio seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for ne minute.
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ms. kaptur: mr. speaker, the commerce department just announced that america's trade ficit for january, 2017, was $48,500,000,000. the largest monthly deficit since march, 2012. that translates into more lost jobs in our country. in the campaign, president trump criticized our trade deals. he promised to do better for american workers. now nearly two months into his presidency, what action has he taken to stop the erosion of this deficit and the jobs that go with them? it continues to get worse. what hope can he give to the hundreds and hubs more -- hundreds more steel workers in ohio who received pink slip over the weekend due to the permanent closure of another steel line due to chinese imports and predatory trade practices. it's going to put a lot of steel
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workers back to work, president trump said during the campaign, and after, as he revived the keystone and dakota access pipelines. but his talk turned out to be empty and a pipe dream because the pipes have already been purchased from foreign sources. next month, china's president will visit president trump at mar-a-lago in florida. president trump talked tough on china throughoutth campaign. but what will he do -- throughout the campaign. but what will he do to reform chinese trade practices that are resulting in these a increased trade deficits? mr. speaker, i hope our president begins to keep the long list of campaign promises that he made to working people across this country and reverse these deficits and start increasing good jobs again. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. -- the gentlewoman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. whatever possessed someone to think that a faceless, nameless
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bureaucrat in an ivory tower in washington, d.c., who's never been to my district, who has never met with the people, think they know more about what is good for the family and the children of my people, than they do. that was a question that was asked of me by a constituent this wednesday. what makes you think you know better what's best for my family and my children than i do? he was referring to the affordable care act. he went on to tell me that he used to have an insurance policy that cost $300 a month. that he could use. today he's paying $1,600 a month for something he cannot use. he doesn't want. but by the force of law he is forced to have. he went on to say, will you please, please do something now to fix this problem? another person asked me, said, are you going to be able to get to a reform, to fix america's health care that you like? my answer was no. we're not going to get to
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something i like. but that's not the issue here. why? because america's not ready for what i want. that's true federalism. that this place has nothing to do with health care. we can't get there right now because we don't have the votes. but we can get to something we need. i call upon my brothers and sisters in the house, let's fix america's health care system. we have the opportunity to do it now. thank you, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from the virgin slands seek recognition? ms. plaskett: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. plaskett: thank you. mr. speaker, later today i intend to re-introduce a resolution commemorating the transfer of the u.s. virgin islands from denmark to the united states. in that resolution, it discusses the 1733 slave revolt, the first slave revolt in the western hemisphere. the 1848 slave rebellion and
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emancipation, 17 years before the united states. and of course the 1917 transfer of ownership of the virgin islands from denmark to the u.s. we also discussed great virgin islanders such as alt ombing n roy -- alton adams, and ennis. but what does the transfer mean? and what have been the gains and benefits to the people of the virgin islands by the purchase by the united states? the americans were able to receive a pristine geopolitically strategic location in the caribbean. with the people who are loyal and proud to this country. but what have been given to the virgin islanders? a people willing to and eager to take on the responsibilities of that citizenship, but in fact have moved from a system of servedom under the danish rule to second class, limited privilege citizenship by the united states. we need to take this time in this centennial transfer year to
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look at what have been the gains . and for the u.s. to make a more perfect union by a more perfect citizenship and a more inclusion of the u.s. virgin islands into the united states. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. chairman. for nearly three decades state and local law enforcement agencies across america have been flooded with surplus military grade weaponry through the pentagon's 1033 program. late last year law enforcement in north dakota responded to protestors in standing in a well documented militarized fashion reminding us of the danger which the use of military equipment by domestic law enforcement poses to the civil liberties of americans. during the elections, president trump ran on a promise to
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restore law and order. i'm deeply concerned that the administration will follow up on that promise by making more military equipment available to state and local law enforcement agencies. this would further blur the line between military and civilian police officers and violate a founding principle of our nation. for this reason i'm today reintroducing the bipartisan stop militarizing law enforcement act to rein in the pentagon's excess property management program and ensure our communities are not just safe but that the civil liberties of ordinary americans continue to be protected. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask permission to address the house for approximately one minute to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to voice my concern about how crucial it is that we repeal and replace the poorly named affordable care act. we're working towards a better
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health care plan and doing it in a better fashion than the other side did eight years ago. we're actually going through regular order allowing the committees of jurisdiction to do their work in public and have the text for all to see and debate. mr. yoho: mr. speaker, obamacare is failing and will collapse on its own. many more will lose their insurance and health care system and will get drastically worse if we simply leave it in place. the worst thing we can do is nothing. 4.7 million americans were kicked off their health care plans by the a.c.a. i was one of them. under the a.c.a., there has been a 25% average increase in premiums for the mid level plans in 2017 for millions of americans trapped in the health care.gov exchanges. nearly 1 will be 3 of u.s. counties have only one insureder offering an exchange plan. obamacare is unsustainable. mr. speaker, it is time for congress do its job and replace the failed obamacare. we guarantee we will read this bill before we pass t i yield back.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, by direction of the committee on rules i call up house resolution 198 and ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will designate the resolution. the clerk: house called number 31, house resolution 198, resolved that in the any time after the adoption of this resolution, the speaker may pursuant to clause 2-b of rule 18, declare the house resolved into the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of the bill h.r. 1259, to amend title 38 united states code to provide for the removal or demotion of employees of the department of veterans' affairs based on performance or misconduct, and for other purposes. the first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. all points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. general debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking member of the committee on veterans' affairs. after general debate, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule.
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it shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-minute rule an amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the text of rules committee print 115-7. that amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. all points of order against that amendment in the nature of a substitute are waived. no amendment to that amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be order except those printed in part a of the report of the committee on rules accompanying this resolution. each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent. shall not be subject to amendment and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question in the house or in the committee of the whole. at the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the committee shall rise and report the bill to the house with such amendments as
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may have been adopted. any member may demand a separate vote in the oust on any amendment adopted in the committee of the whole to the bill or to the amendment in the nature of a substitute made in order as a original text. the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or ithout instructions. section 2. at any time after adoption of this resolution the speaker may, pursuant to clause 2-b of rule 18, declare the house resolved into the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of the bill h.r. 1367 to improve the authority of the secretary of veterans affairs to hire and reain physicians ather employees of the department of veterans affairs, and for other purposes. the first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. all points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. general debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the
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chair and ranking minority member of the committee on veterans' affairs. after general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. it shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-minute rule an amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the text of rules committee print 115-6. that amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. all points of order against that amendment in the nature of a substitute are waived. no amendment to that amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in part b of the report of the committee on rules accompanying this resolution. each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question in the house or in the committee of the whole. all points of order against such amendments are waived.
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at the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the committee shall rise and report the bill to the house with such amendments as may have been adopted. any member may demand a separate vote in the house on any amendment adopted in the committee of the whole to the bill or to the amendment in the nature of a substitute made in order as original text. the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit wi or ithout instructions. section 3. upon adoption of this resolution it shall be in order to consider in the house the bill h.r. 1181 to amend title 38, united states code, to clarify the conditions under which certain persons may be treated as adjudicated mentally incompetent for certain purposes. all points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. the bill shall be considered as read. all points of order against provisions in the bill are waived. the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and on any amendment
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thereto to final passage without intervening motion except, one, one hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on veterans' affairs. and two, one motion to ecommit. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado is recognized for one hour for the purposes >> for the purposes of debate overwhelm, i yield the customary 30 minutes to my friend from florida, mr. hastings, pending which i yield myself such time as i may consume. during consideration of this resolution all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks . the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. buck: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of the rule and the underlying legislation. our veterans have paid a high price. dispatched to foreign lands to fight for our freedom, many returned injured, grief stricken over lost friends, torn apart by the violence of war. we owe them our time, our
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energy, our gratitude, our protection. that's why we're here on the floor today to protect the constitutional rights of our heroes and to make sure we're taking care of them like we promised we would. h.r. 1181, the veterans second amendment protection act, ensures that government cannot strip our heroes of their constitutional rights without due process. under current law, if the v.a. determis that a veteran needs a guardian or fi -- fiduciary to help manage their benefits, then that veterans' name must be sent to the nics database to prohibit them from purchasing a firearm. but the decision to strip a constitutional right from anyone, most importantly our veterans, who have put their lives on the line to defend our constitution needs to be made with due process. the v.a. was never designed to adjudicate the removal of constitutional rights. this decision should be made by a judge or judicial authority. instead of tripping veterans of
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constitutional rights, our v.a. should be focused on protecting veterans. that's exactly what the other two bills under consideration do. h.r. 1259 gives the department of veterans affairs greater ability to discipline employees for misconduct or poor performance. we entrust our v.a. employees with the health and well-being of our veterans. most of these employees do a great job working hard to make sure our heroes are cared for. but occasionally a v.a. employee engages in misconduct. behavior that can endanger the very lives of our veterans. these men and women sacrificed to serve our nation. the least we can do is enable them to receive the best care possible at the v.a. that's why we need h.r. 1259, to allow the v.a. under an expedited process to fire or suspend or demote employees who are putting our veters at risk. the legislation also allows the
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a. to recoup the money paid in bonuses or relocation grants to employees convicted of a elony. mr. speaker, our veterans deserve the best, they deserve the best employees, the best met cal staff. that's what the third bill under consideration, h.r. 1367, will achieve. this legislation improves the v.a.'s ability to recruit the best medical staff, offering the agency direct hiring authority to fill key positions with critical staffing needs. it also creates a fellowship program to train up v.a. management for the best performance. it's time to improve the personnel practices at the veterans administration. mr. speaker, the resolution on the floor today is vital for our nation's veterans. their constitutional rights and their well-being stand in the balance. i reserve the balance of my ime. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado
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reserves. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. hastings: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. hastings: i thank the gentleman, my friend from colorado, for yielding me the customary 30 minutes for debate. and i rise to debate the rule providing for consideration of the three bills related to the department of veterans affairs. interestingly all under one rule we have been doing two bills under one rule. we're now headed to three. i recommend we just put all of our bills under a rule and save us a lot of time. the fir bill under today's rule to improve the authority of the secretary of veterans affairs to hire and retain physicians and other employees of the department of veterans affairs. the bipartisanship reflected in this bill is certainly a rarity in this body.
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and frankly, could have easily come before us under the suspension of the rules. job are nearly 47,000 vacancies for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals throughout the veterans administration's health care system. he v.a. is consistent rated as one of the worst federal agencies -- consistently rated as one of the worst federal agencies in pay and leadership, and since 2009, the number of v.a. employees resigning or retiring has risen every year. 547,000 new year, patients were waiting more than 30 days for care at a v.a. hospital. it is clear that we must act to
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improve the v.a. on a holistic level, and this bill is a good start. this legislation establishes staffing, recruitment, and retention programs to enable the v.a. to build a stronger work force. however, i'm disappointed that the rules committee majority an an make in order amendment that i offered to this measure which would have allowed the secretary of the v.a. to fill any exvacant positions within the veterans administration, regardless of whether the position was vacated before or after the reckless hiring freeze imposed by donald john trump. i would also note that representatives schrader and molten offered an amendment that would fully lift the hiring freeze, but the rules
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committee blocked this amendment as well from receiving a vote on the house floor. i i remain disheartened at the way the majority continues to operate the business of the house of representatives. the bipartisanship this bill enjoys dissipates when we move another bill wrapped in today's three-rule measure. and that's h.r. 1181, the veterans second amendment protection act. before i launch into all of my remarks regarding this, i want to make it very clear that i and most members of the house of representatives will do everything that we can to protect the second amendment rights of u.s. citizens and veterans. especially. this legislation, however, if
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enacted would immediately enable proximately 174,000 veterans curreny deemed mentally unfit by the v.a. to purchase firearms . at its core, this bill assumes that all veterans with mental illness should have unfettered access to guns, regardless of whether they will turn the weapon on themselves or their loved ones, and that any determination otherwise is simply wrong. the broadly reaching bill arbitrarily removes every veteran flagged by the national instant background check system from its rolls. literally putting tens of thousands of lives at risk. let's look at the facts.
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under procedures currently in place by the v.a. and the department of justice, an individual that lacks the mental capacity to contract or to manage his or her own affairs can be prevented from purchasing a gun. this term applies to veterans with severe mental illnesses who require a fiduciary to help manage their v.a. benefits. if the veteran thinks there was an error or that he or she was unfairly disqualified, the veteran can utilize the same due process and appeals procedures that are available for other v.a. decisions. under the current process, which was codified in the 21st century cures act just a few months ago, the veteran is allowed a hearing
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before the board of veterans appeals, and given several opportunities for judicial review and appeal in federal court. mr. speaker, this bill turns this sensible and humane approach on its head. it's time that we acknowledge where we are as a country. it is time that we deal with the facts that we are in the midst of a veteran suicide epidemic. 20 veterans kill themselves every day. that's 7,300 of our finest and . avest persons in our society 2/3 of these suicides are carried out using firearms. a department of veterans affairs report provided to congress in 2015 revealed that nearly 20,000
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veterans diagnosed with schizophrenia, 15,000 diagnosed with posttrauma stress disorder, and thousands more -- post traumatic stress disorder, and thousands -- posttraumatic stress disorder, and thousands more diagnosed with serious depression were on the rolls. under this bill, these individuals and many more would be given immediate access to guns, putting themselves and others in danger. even as our nation suffers shooting after shooting, congress has not acted. democrats held a sit-in in this very room, in that well, in this last congress, to protest the carelessness of the house republican leadership in preventing us from even considering legislation to protect our citizens with reference to guns.
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rather than act to address gun violence, we instead consider legislation like this, which will actually lead to more gun violence, mr. speaker. the logic and lack of compassion is such an approach -- in such an approach absolutely escapes me. our country has witnessed horrific shootings in the past few years, dozens of children were murdered at sandy hook. nearly 50 people were killed at the pulse night club in orlando. one of our very own from this congress was nearly assassinated while holding a town hall event in 2011. we continue to ignore the ramifications of shootings at oak creek, aurora, virginia tech, i could go on and on. charleston, the list just continues. 32,000 americans lose their lives every year from gun violence.
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we've grieved together, and i, along with several of my colleagues, have stopped standing down here in the well for a moment of silence, and then going back to our regular business after hundreds of our people are killed throughout this society. we've demanded change together. and we've been shocked by the paralysis that has gripped this institution when it comes to taking commonsense steps to end our country's gun violence epidemic. today we see in this bill another measure coming out of republican leadership that sprints towards the goals set by this country's powerful gun lobby. listen up, n.r.a. there are people like me that aspire to have a zero rating by you every year. and it's not just the gone lobbyists. it's gun manufacturers as well. it may be great for gun manufacturers' bottom line, and n.r.a.'s bottom line, but it is terrible for those brave men and
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women who have served this country so fully, those brave men and women who suffer wounds that may not be visible to the naked eye, but are no less real, worthy of our attention. with each new tragedy that occurs, whether it be a mass shooting, or the 20 service members we lose every day to suicide, those who stand in the way of legislation to address our country's gun violence epidemic are increasingly culpable for its continuation. i'm disgusted with this morally bankruptness and i think the american people are too. let me lay down a marker. 435-plus six members of the house of representatives and the u.s. senators. i want to see the first person when this measure goes into effect, if it does, and 174,000
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veterans are taken off of the rolls and can access guns, the first one that dies, and i hope we track it, i want everybody to stand up and remember that we had a chance to stop it here. and don't tell me if 20 veterans are killing themselves every day , and if 7,000-plus of them are killing themselves every year, and we won't even mention domestic violence and the horror that comes from those guns, if we continue this effort we will allow more deaths along those lines. before concluding, mr. speaker, i want to say a few words about the final bill encompassed in this rule. h.r. 1259, the v.a. accountability first act of 2017. and the republicans' continued assault on the working people of this country. at its core this bill is an take
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on workers' rights. plain and simple -- an attack on workers' rights. plain and simple. and will do more tharm than good in our efforts -- harm than good in our efforts to improve care at the veterans administration. this legislation would strip the collective bargaining rights of v.a. workers. it weakens an employee's right to appeal. it weakens protections for v.a. workers who speak up against mismanagement and patient harm. republicans claim they want to help fix our v.a. system. and yet with this bill, they do that by insulting, undermining and attacking the very employees that serve and care for our veterans. including thover 120,000 veterans who work for the v.a. yesterday one of our colleagues presented at the rules committee
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a statistic that i didn't know. of the two million federal employees in this great nation of ours, 640,000 of them are veterans. so when we get ready to pare back this government that somehow or another people have targeted for all sorts of cuts, if you read today's budget propose albie donald john trump, you -- proposal by donald john trump, you will see that lots of these veterans will be losing their jobs. in addition to all of the things that we've already discussed. we need to make improvements at the v.a. everybody knows that. that's clear. but singling out v.a. employees and their protections is counterproductive to say the least. and only exounleds man power shortages -- compounds man power shortages in the agency.
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this will impair retention at the agency. it threatens the agency's ability to build a robust clinical work force by threatening the quality of care that the v.a. will be able to provide. byon't know what the peak is my republican colleagues with reference to workers in this country. they talk a very good game about protecting workers. and we're going to bring back jobs. we're going to do all of these thin that are going to protect the middle class. i'll get a chance to talk about this a little bit more. but i'm very proud of the unions in this nation. they're the unions -- people like my father and countless of us that served in the house of representatives worked in and helped build this nation. they're the people that are veterans from the second world war and the korean conflict and
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vietnam. who became union members, who went on to do things for collective bargaining that made workers' rights be better for people in america. i don't see tearing them down, let alone in the v.a. administration, as something that we need to do. mr. speaker, my friends on the other side of the aisle know exactly where their priorities lie with this bill. and it's certainly not with improving the quality of care of our veterans. but rather in exploiting yet another opportunity to attack the rights of working men and women across our country. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from colorado is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, my friend from florida and i were in committee yesterday and heard testimony from one of our colleagues that this bill, as it pertains to veterans' gun rights, is not
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reactive. mr. buck: it does not go back to those individuals who have been denied their due process rights, who have been denied their second amendment rights. this bill is prospective only. it will only affect those who in the future have been denied those rights. i think it is absolutely important that we understand the republican party in the house of representatives is committed to make sure that those individuals who have been denied their due process rights, their second amendment rights in the past, we will find a solution. we will help those individuals. but right now we are focused on making sure that others have the ability to a fair, open hearing where they can present their side of the story before they are denied their constitutional rights. my friend and colleague from florida also talks about the fact that 1259 will do more harm than good. that somehow disciplining those who are delivering poor services
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our veterans is unfair to unions. and the truth is that 35% of the v.a.'s work force is made up of veterans. but the fact is that veteran employees believe employees that are not meeting acceptable standards for their fellow veterans should be removed, period, regardless of their service while on active duty. . our opponents of removing poor performance employees and those whose misconduct warranting member morsial that a veteran employee who is guilty of misconduct be kept on the job, on the contrary veterans know the strictest accountability standards applied to them during their military service and millions of hardworking americans in the private sector to do not enjoy anything close to the protections enjoyed by federal employees. the only employees who need to be concerned with reasonable
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reform would be those -- would be made by this legislation are those who aren't doing their jobs on behalf of the veterans who they serve. with that, mr. speaker, i yield three minutes to my friend from florida, representative mast. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. mast: i want to thank my colleague from colorado, mr. buck, for yielding me this time. i want to start by saying this. i wasn't -- i was prompted to say this about the remarks by my colleague from florida just now. i believe that there is absolutely nothing that is common sense about preventing efend america from aving the opportunity to defend themselves. there is no common sense in that whatsoever. i listened to your emotional remarks here and i listened as you gave zero specifics on the mental illness that my colleague specifically talked about being worried about. what specifically, what mental illnesses? that had you concerned? i would encourage you to have
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the courage to be specific and say exactly what it is that you mean so that there is no confusion. now, the true intent of my remarks today are to talk about my favorite part of going to the v.a. and that is sitting next to my fellow veterans when i sit down at one of the clinics at my local v.a. hospital whether it's a marine from iraq, a sailor from world war ii, a soldier from vietnam, an airman from korea, whenever we sit down next to each other, there is a camaraderie that exists immediately. one of the first things that's said is usually some sort of off topic joke about the branch that the other person comes from. and it's that comrade ray -- camaraderie of shared service that unites us in a way that half a century of age can't divide that. we have common experiences and we have common health care challenges as well. it's important for veterans to come together and for the v.a. to establish and maintain
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expertise in providing for our unique health care needs. unfortunately, too many v.a. facilities have lost their hunger to provide care. they have lost the passion to meet the individual needs of veterans, and it's become way too much of a rarity that a veterans' needs are truly met when they enter the v.a. facility. you possibly that together with enough bad experiences from underperforming employees and it forces veterans to ask, where else can i go for my care? that is why i'm excited to see the house bring forward two bills this week that get at the crux of the matter. authority to hire the best employees, and the ability to remove underperforming employees. today we will debate v.a. accountability act first. we will provide the v.a. secretary the flexibility to either remove, demote, or suspend an employee for misconduct. could be very little that's more important to go on at the
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v.a. tomorrow we will debate h.r. 1367 that will bolster the secretary's situational awareness to recruit and retain the very best employees. when a veteran like myself, or my go to the v.a., peers, we're not given a choice in our provider. we go there and they look at a person like me and say your last name is mast, we're going to assign you to alpha clinic, this is your provider. there is no choice. the veterans key serve -- deserve nothing less than the kind of care and accountability that these bills endeavor to provide. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is yielded an extra two minutes. mr. mast: i encourage my colleagues to vote for this rule and to bring each of these bills to the floor. with that i didn't need two more minutes. i yield my time back. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado reserves. mr. buck: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. hastings: mr. speaker, i
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have great respect for my colleague whose district abuts a portion of my district in florida. and i want to make it very clear that it's important to isten to what a person says. my colleague just commented that i did not offer the specifics with reference to rsons who suffered some form of mental illness. and he said, in my passionate remarks, i failed to provide those specifics. let me go back and read you my remarks again. the department of veterans affairs report provided to congress in 2015 revealed that nearly 20,000 veterans diagnosed with schizophrenia, 15,000 diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder,
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and thousands more diagnosed with dementia, alzheimer's, and sirius depression. is that specific -- serious depressio is that specific enough for you? do i need to add additional reasons? evidently you didn't hear that, my colleague. of course i yield. mr. mast: i appreciate that. when i get to speaking about the specifics of this matter, and you used a very broad general term like the term posttraumatic stress disorder. that's something that's unfortunately laird upon nearly every veteran that exits service today. to go out there and have this ability to put people into this ncis system who had this sort of label placed upon them, that's the crux of this that i am getting to that it is not specific enough. it does not point to what is specifically an issue that -- mr. hastings: reclaiming my time.
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is schizophrenia one of those things? mr. mast: that is an issue we could point to. when you talk about posttraumatic stress, and so many other issues that are diagnosed -- mr. hastings: reclaiming my time. that's what you should have said rather than say i didn't offer specifics. and i just want to make that very clear to you. i don't think, me, i don't think that people with diagnosis of schizophrenia that have been allowed -- that their if i douchearies have determined their mental illness allows they should not get a gun, i suggest to you and to anybody that those persons that have a gun and -- i made the distinction, you evidently didn't hear that part, either. i made the distinction about the second amendment. and how much i supported and i support veterans and i support veterans' rights to defend them sefments but i don't support crazy people having guns whether they are veterans or not. it's just that simple. i yield 2 1/2utes to the
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gentleman from california, the vice chair of veterans' affairs. the speaker pro tempore: members of both sides of the aisle are reminded to address your remarks to the chair. the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. takano: i thank the gentleman from florida for yielding me time. mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to the rule. in its current form h.r. 1181 would endanger veterans in crisis and serve as another obstacle to addressing the crisis of veteran suicide. we had hoped to introduce amendments which would protect veterans rights while ensuring their safety by bringing this bill to the floor under a closed rule. the majority has proprevented us from doing so, from considering -- spreented us from doing sorks from considering other possibilities to come together in bipartisan fashion. there are changes that could be made to this legislation to ensure that this is good public policy. for instance, we could consider a streamlined appeals process
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that would allow veterans erroneously flagged by the background check system to have their status changed. i do acknowledge the concern of the gentleman from florida that people with p.t.s. on this list may be laird -- may be inappropriately have flagged those veterans to be on this list. and we could have discussed a streamlined process. we could have -- we could conduct a study of the v.a.'s existing practices for submitting records of veterans through the background check system. but rather than subject that whole list to being dismantled and freeing people that should not be free to have weapons, crazy people from having weapons. at the very least we should understand the impact this change would have on veteran
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suicide. as ms. esty suggested when she tried to offer an amendment at rules committee last night to require a study into the number of veterans who have committed suicide by firearm who should have been prevented from accessing a firearm under current policy. i do wish, mr. speaker, to dispute, to dispute the gentleman from colorado's contention that this is only about going forward that it affects -- going forward. i maintain there is considerable concern that this will affect those exist on the list currently. these are sensible ideas. the ideas that are offered that we could have considered instead of being forced to vote n the legislation we have now. we could come together under unanimity to solve this issue. under this rule we're forced to vote only on legislation that would make veterans and their communities less safe. accordingly i call on my
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colleagues -- the speaker pro tempore: the entleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from colorado is recognized. mr. buck: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, my friend from florida talked about the spess hysicality-- spess physicality -- specificity that he used describing the condition of these veterans. that's not what the rule says. what the rule says, mr. speaker, is that if someone -- if a veteran need a fiduciary, they will be denied the ability to own, possess, purchase a firearm. it doesn't say if they are schizophrenic. it doesn't say if they have ptsd. it doesn't say if they have depression. and if they have ptsd or depression, that is somehow
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linked to further violent behavior. it doesn't say that. what it says is if you can't balance your bank account, you can't have a gun to protect yourself. there is no relationship between those two. now, if the gentleman from florida would go to the veterans administration and talk to them about the need to link that finding ofal fiduciary with future violent behavior, we may not be here today. but so many people people have been trapped in this overbroad rule that we're going to make sure that those people that have a fiduciary and are listed by the v.a. have a due process right to show that they are nonviolent. that he they don't have a propensity to commit a crime with a weapon. that they are not a harm to themselves or others. and if, if the v.a. finds or if the independent judicial officer finds that they are, then, yes, list them on the nics report.
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but give them that new process ry. -- right. that's where the majority believes this rule created during the clinton administration by the veterans administration falls. i yield further two minutes to my friend from florida, representative mast. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. mast: thank you for yielding me the time, sir. i take issue, mr. speaker, with a term that was thrown around far too loosely twice in just the last couple minutes by my colleagues from the other side of the aisle here. where each of them used the term crazy. they used the term crazy, twice. i take serious issue with that. this is the reality. our service members that endeavor on to the battlefield, they face snipers that are targeting them. they face mortars being dropped on their head. they face improvised explosive devices like the ones that took my legs and so many of my friends.
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there are aviators that fly beyond the lines of our enemy. they face the threat of being shot down or captured. there are marines, there are sailors, and all of us. the reality is we do come home with demons that are associated with a life that is surrounded by death. that is certainly the truth. but to say for one moment that that is something that allows the term crazy to be layered upon any one of these heroes that goes out there and serves in defense of this contry, goes out there and has the willingness to have their uniform stained with the blood of their friends, i find that to be a disgusting use of that word. i resent the fact it's been done, mr. speaker. and i would respectfully ask that there be an apology made to those that put on the uniform and go out and defend this country on behalf of every single american. with that i yield my time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado reserves. the gentleman from florida is recognized. . hags: mr. speaker, i wouldrge my friend from colorado to know that i have no additional speakers and i'm prepared to close if he's prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the -- mr. n from florida buck: i'd like to make one more statement before closing. could i inquire how much time do i have left? . the speaker pro tempore: 17 3/4. mr. buck: i would yield two minutes to my friend from georgia, mr. collins. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. collins: thank you, mr. speaker. i appreciate my colleague from the rules committee. i can't be in any more agreement with my friend from florida right now.
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we talked about this in the rules committee yesterday. it gets down to the fact you are adjudicated a mental effective. that's language that's got to be stopped in this and i know my friend from the rules committee and we serve on judiciary, we are going to look into this. if we really want to talk about veterans and suicide, then we need to start addressing it head-on in real terms in real ways with the issues they face and not simply saying we are going to take a right away. it's amazing to me we are discussing this issue. what about the other amendments? we'll just do the second amendment. in fact, what's happening right now among many and for those who need to understand this, many of our v.a. colleagues who want to go to the veterans administration have stopped going. if we want to actually worry about some of this stuff they're worrying about with their mental health, then we need to take away impediments away from getting them help. getting help from the v.a. is something that should not be predicated on, a fiduciary of
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someone helping them. if they have real issues, then follow the law. follow the law. adjudicate this. don't give just simple cart blanche to say we are going to take this away and then oh, by the way, go fix it yourself. i said yesterday in the rules committee, i'm still in the air force. i'm an attorney and chaplain. i served in iraq. i've delivered these death notifications. i have counseled those who have alled saying, i don't find a eason to live, chap. when we begin throwing around these terms loosely yesterday in committee, to send letters if you vote for this then you're actually making it free and easier, i think was the wording, to guns to veterans, this is why this problem breaks down. this is why we use veterans as pawns. if you are against this vote no, but don't use the cover of saying that you're helping
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people on suicide. get to the issues. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. buck: i yield the gentleman an additional two minutes. mr. collins: when we understand this -- i understand the discussions. i understand the issues we have here but not with this. make your vote. but don't cloak it. on't call it crazy people. congressman mast, they are not what they are. they're hurting. hey need help.
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and if this is an impediment to that, then vote yes. because we have an no, fine. upon about this that we think could happen because you can't have -- because you have a fiduciary, you can't do it on your own. when we understand what's really at the heart of this, i'd encourage all to say, you know, the veterans, you just overstepped your bounds here. we are going to put this back where it needs to be and we are going to get onto the real issues of veterans that need help and i know my friend from florida appreciates that. we talked about this before. our veterans need help. our v.a. needs help. our hospitals need help. the money and time spent to help these folks when they come back, they're not crazy, they are not defective. they are just people who's been through a tough time, and they need a little kindness and compassion and help. they're not broken. i broke my leg. i stepped on a piece of glass.
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i cut my achilles. that's what happened to me. everybody said your cast looks interesting. nobody talks about it, though, if i said i am depressed, i have an issue. we start backing away. we have to break that in our country. mental health has got to be a priority. this, to be against this, and claim what we're claiming here on the floor, is wrong. and with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado reserves. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. hastings: thank you very much, mr. speaker. my friend that's on the rules committee, my colleague from orgia, correctly speaks to this issue and its need to go to the judiciary committee or other committees to ensure that veterans have the appropriate adjudication. i don't know where he or my colleague from florida would place schizophrenia.
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i am not a mental health expert , but i have spent a good portion of my career here in congress dealing with issues, trying to address issues of mental health, be it veterans or not. mr. speaker, if we defeat the previous question, i'm going to offer an amendment to the rule to bring up h.r. 696, representative schrader's bill to exempt the department of veterans affairs from donald john trump's hiring freeze. as we've already discussed, my amendment to allow the v.a. secretary to fill vacant positions regardless of whether they were vacated before or after the hiring freeze was blocked last night in the rules committee. there are nearly 47,000 vacant positions within the v.a., and
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we should not be limiting the v.a.'s authority to fill these positions, especially as we continue to work towards reducing patient wait times. on a bipartisan basis, members of both house and senate have requested that the v.a. be exempt from the hiring freeze. mr. speaker, this is commonsense legislation to ensure that the v.a. can recruit and hire qualified staff to meet the needs of our veterans. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to insert the text of my amendment in the record alon with extraneous material immediately prior to the vote on the previs question. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. hastings: mr. speaker, at the end of the day, we are gathered here once again to debate the same old, tired, irresponsible and morally bankrupt policies championed by my friends across the aisle.
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policies that will while we face a suicide epidemic among those service members who have so bravely served this country make it easier for them to take their own lives by increasing their access to guns. that may be good policy for the powerful gun lobby and gun manufacturers, but it is horrendous policy for the american people. we have before us legislation that will gut workers' rights for v.a. employees while also -- ng it easier to re reprimand those who are brave enough to speak out against the ills they see occurring at the v.a. ills that have and will continue to undermine the quality of service our veterans are able to receive. and all of this moral ineptitude is set against the backdrop of a health care plan
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recently put forth by republicans that will raise the number of uninsured in this country to 24 million in under 10 years. this includes 14 million folks being unceremoniously kicked off medicaid and seven million americans kicked off of the health insurance planthey received through their employers. this is alan th will increase premiums for individual policyholders by up to 29%. this is a plan that will increase, particularly, for older americans out-of-pocket health care expenses. mr. speaker, in the final analysis, this is no plan at all but rather a shameful and nical, massive giveaway to will rawealthy that
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result in hardworking americans paying far more for far less. mr. speaker, i've been in this institution 25 years. i've been on this earth 80 years. i've seen an awful lot of trauma during that period of time. i served as a state court judge and had the responsibility of bakor acting, as people it's called in florida, to people to mental institutions. i established fiduciaries for people that were unable to take care of themselves. i worked actively when we had mental health hospitals to keep those mental health hospitals open. i would say to you, mr. speaker, so that you can say to the gentleman that asked that i apologize, that i apologize for nothing having to do with any remarks that i made within the
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confines of what is allowed in this institution. and the simple fact of the matter is, i use the term crazy, and i had refernce to schizophrenia. now, it may very well be that these are not broken people. it is that they are brave people that came home with problems, but crazy is crazy, and i would say that until the day i die. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida reserves? the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from colorado is recognized. mr. buck: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i want to draw to your attention and to the attention of my colleague from florida a letter dated january , 2017, from the chairman of committee on veterans' affairs, u.s. house of representatives, representative roe, and the chairman of the committee on veterans', chairman isakson, to
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the president, on which they ask for various positions to be exempted from the president's executive order concerning a hiring freeze. the next day, january 27, the acting secretary issued a memorandum under the authority of that presidential memorandum, executive order, granting the chairmen's request exempting various positions. i would exceed my time limitations, mr. speaker, if i were to read all of these, but let me assure you, there are dozens and dozens of positions at the veterans administration that have been exempted from the president's hiring freeze. they include social worker, science lab technician, practical nurse, nursing assistant, dietitian, nutritionist, occupational therapist, on and on and on. and the need for the amendment
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that the gentleman presents is unnecessary. i would also like to talk very briefly about the gentleman's argument that somehow those at he veterans administration are being harmed and we are attacking a union in some way rather than trying to deal with real situations to where -- and improving the care, the quality of care at the v.a. i want to give a few examples of v.a. employees and just the time that it took to remove people. a v.a. employee was a willing participant in an armed robbery several years ago and after a lengthy and administrative battle where the employee was supported by the public employee union, the employee was reinstated in their previous position without any discipline. the v.a. nurse showed up to work intoxicated and participated in a veteran's
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surgery while under the influence of alcohol. although the employee eventully resigned, no oer employees were disciplined for allowi the individual to participate in the veteran's surgery. in 2013, a vocational rehab specialist out of the central alabama veterans health care system crashed a government car and a passenger ended up dying. he was later indicted for a d.u.i. the v.a. confirmed that the employee was not removed from payroll until january of this year, almost four years. in 2014, a v.a. employee at the central alabama veterans health care system took a veteran, who is a recovering drug addict, to a crack house, where he purchased ille legal drugs for the veteran as well as purchased a prostitute for him. though the employee was still employed at the v.a. well over a year later after the incident until they were finally able to remove him. mr. speaker, i ask my colleagues to stand up now for
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our veterans. they performed their duty, and it is time for us to perform for them. our duty is to take care of them. a yes vote restores their constitutional rights and improves their quality of care. i thank chairman roe, representative wenstrup for bringing these bills before us. i yield back the balance of my time and i move the previous question on the resolution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado yields back. the question is on ordering the previous question on the resolution. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. mr. hastings: mr. speaker, i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring aote by the yes annaysill rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this question
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pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed. pursuant to sclause 12-tafment of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess for a period of less than 15 minutes.
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a we'll show you how speaks-e paul ryan as he held his weekly briefing this morning. the speaker: one of my favorite days of the year. as speaker, great, great grandson of county kill kinney, i have the privilege of hosting the annual friends of ireland luncheon. this is a tradition that dates back to ronald reagan and tip o'neill. i can't tell you how much i look forward to welcoming the president prime minister which we refer to as irishman aunty shock. it's going to be good food, good company. knowing me some fairly lame jokes. today, show, the house budget committee took up the american health care act. it is the third committee to debate this bill as part of our june going open and transparent regular order process. we look forward to strong support there. putting us another step closer
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toward keeping our promise, keeping our promise to repeal and replace obamacare frfment there, the bill will go to a fourth committee before it goes o the house floor. as we said from the start repeal and replace will be a step by step approach. yesterday, the majority announced the house will begin considering additional legislation. these include reforms like eliminating the antitrust protections that create more competition. this will help make sure that people are not left with few or no choices like we're seeing cross the country.
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allowing small businesses to pull together across the country giving our small businesses more purchasing power so they will have more choices and lower costs and they will be able to harness the power of bulk buying like large companies do. medical malpractice reform. it helps prevent abuse lawsuits which we can lower costs and increase choices. these are just a few of the ideas and these are ideas that we strongly believe in. they were part of our better way plan, but we know we cannot advance all of them through the reconciliation process. that is why we are acting on these reforms separately but so immediately, concurrently. we are not going to wait on these things. you all remember the slide from last week. first, we pass our bill to repeal obamacare's taxes, mandates and spending and we replace all that with reforms that build a better, patient-centered, market-based ystem. second, secretary tom price will take administrative actions to help lower costs and increase consumer choices and restore market freedom and states' rights. third, we pass additional reforms as i mentioned, and there are others behind that, to lower costs and increase hoices for families. we are on track and on schedule with where we have been intended to being this whole time. we made a promise. we made a promise to repeal and replace obamacare. we're going to keep our prom toys the people that elected us. questions?
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reporter: mr. speaker, last night on fox news, president trump suggested that his assertion that president obama wiretapped him speaker ryan: i thought you were going to ask an obamacare uestion. reporter: the president said this was based off of press reports, accusations, press reports. are you comfortable with the president making an assertion like that based off of press reports? and frankly, do you believe that he was wiretapped? speaker ryan: well, i answered the question whether the wiretap occurred. i think devin nunes and adam schiff answered that question pretty clearly. i got the same briefing with them on that as well. but after we heard about this we did see a number of press reports that made this >> house speaker paul ryan. we'll leave this now and go back live to the house floor as members will prepare to vote.
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and agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal. the first electronic vote will be conducted as a 15-minute ote remaining electronic votes will be conducted as five-minute votes. the unfinished business is the vote on ordering the previous question on house resolution 198 on which the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house calendar number 21. house resolution 198, resolution providing for consideration of the bill h.r. 1259, to amend title 38, united states code, tprovide for the removal or don oemoti employees of the dertment of veterans affairs based on performance or misconduct and for other purposes. and providing for consideration of the bill h.r. 1367, to improve the authority of the secretary of veterans affairs to hire and retain physicians and other employees at the department of veterans affairs, and for other purposes. and providing for consideration
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of the bill h.r. 1181, to amend title 38, united states code, to clarify the conditions under which certain persons may be treated as adjudicated mentally incompetent and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on ordering the previous question. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 227. the nays are 185. the previous question is ordered. the question is on the adoption of the resolution. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. mr. hastings: mr. speaker, i ask for a recorded vote. the speaker pro tempore: a recorded vote is requested. those favoring a recorded vote will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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